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Opinion

No wonder Premier League fading when look at these crowd stats compared to Championship

4 years ago
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Recently released figures showed a significant drop off in terms of TV viewers for live Premier League matches.

Sky and BT predictably reported it as a ‘blip’ but by looking at the figures of paying customers who actually go to games, is there maybe more clues as to why armchair ‘support’ is dropping off?

Below are two tables, showing the average home crowds for every Premier League and Championship club.

Even though they are in the second tier and playing far more matches, the seven best supported clubs in the Championship, all pull in more fans than any of the six worst supported teams in the Premier League.

The fairly even distribution of TV cash in the top tier has given every club a chance of competing and staying in the top division, even the likes of Bournemouth with crowds of 11,000.

Yes you can say it is great that fans of all clubs now have a chance of sticking around the top division but ironically, is this something that could gradually erode further the appeal of the Premier League, especially around the world?

As a rule of thumb, is it not safe to assume that clubs who have more fans prepared to pay and come and watch them, will also tend to have more fans who are prepared to watch them from the pub/armchair?

For neutrals as well, who is really bothered about games such as Stoke v Swansea that is being shown tonight on Sky? How many more people would be interested if it was Newcastle v Leeds shown live in the Premier League?

When deciding whether to watch a game where your club isn’t involved, you normally need to have a bit of interest in seeing either one team win, or more usually, lose.

Looking at the worst supported clubs in the Premier League, unless you actually support one of the clubs, have you got any remote interest in:

Hull v Bournemouth

Burnley v West Brom

Stoke v Swansea

Watford v Crystal Palace

Even in the Championship, Newcastle are still the sixth best supported in the country and pull in nine thousand more punters than the seven (Chelsea).

Villa meanwhile are tenth best supported in England and are pulling in more than Spurs and Champions Leicester. The likes of Brighton, Norwich, Leeds, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday would all attract gates of at least thirty thousand (capacities allowing) if in the Premier League, as well as similar interest in terms of watching on TV.

Premier League average attendances 2016/17 (all stats from soccerstats.com):

Championship average attendances 2016/17:

Interest is built up over years/decades and rivalries/respects don’t happen overnight.

This season, Newcastle beating Leeds will mean so much more to the majority of NUFC fans, as compared to getting the better of Huddersfield and others.

The Premier League desperately needs the likes of Newcastle, Leeds and others to be vibrant again, having a league where TV money makes gate money so much less important, might not after all be the best thing that has ever happened to the top tier of English football.

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